Sep 16, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

Chocolate Holiday Mushroom

Christian Andres Castillo's Chocolate Holiday Mushroom. Photo by Sara Hanna Photography.

Illanka chocolate mousse, crispy hazelnut, hazelnut praline cremeux, white tuiles, chocolate genoise, chocolate biscotti and lemon curd by Christian Andres Castillo, Pastry Chef of Pricci (Buckhead Life Restaurant Group) in Atlanta, GA.


Yield: 10 servings

Christian Andres Castillo, Pastry Chef, Pricci (Buckhead Life Restaurant Group), Atlanta, GA. Photo by Sara Hanna Photography.

Illanka Chocolate Mousse:

  • 2 gelatin sheets (silver)
  • 8.8 oz/250 g whole milk
  • 10.8 oz/308 g Illanka 63% couverture
  • 17.7 oz/504 g heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

1. Soak gelatin in ice water until softened; squeeze out excess water and set aside.

2. In a small pot, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin to dissolve. Pour liquid over Illanka 63% couverture and whisk until smooth. Cool to 104°F (40°C) before folding in whipped cream.

Crispy Hazelnut:

  • 6.7 oz/190 g 60% hazelnut praline
  • 3.5 oz/100 g milk chocolate, melted
  • 6 oz/170 g feuilletine
  • 1.76 oz/50 g toasted crushed hazelnut

1. In a medium bowl, combine the hazelnut praline with the milk chocolate until smooth. Add hazelnuts and feuilletine and stir to combine.

2. Using two pieces of parchment paper, roll and press to 4mm (0.16”) thickness and freeze until ready to use.

Hazelnut Praline Cremeux:

  • 0.3 oz/9 g gelatin sheets (silver)
  • 26.4 oz/750 g heavy cream
  • 6.3 oz/180 g egg yolks
  • 4 oz/112 g granulated sugar
  • 10.5 oz/300 g hazelnut praline

1. Soak gelatin in ice water until softened; squeeze out excess water and set aside.

2. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a medium-sized pot. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until combined, then slowly pour in hot liquid to temper. Return mixture to pot and cook to 179.6-183.2°F (82-84°C). Stir gelatin into hot custard to dissolve. Pour mixture over hazelnut praline and process with a hand blender until smooth. Spread evenly into half sheet pan, and freeze.

White Tuiles:

  • 3.17 oz/90 g unsalted butter
  • 4.2 oz/120 g confectioners’ sugar
  • 3.17 oz/90 g egg whites
  • 3.7 oz/105 g cake flour
  • White food coloring, as needed

1. Soften the butter to a creamy consistency, using the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until thoroughly mixed. Beat in the egg whites. Sift the flour over the mixture and mix well. Add white coloring as needed and mix to combine. 

2. Spread the mixture onto a lined sheet pan using a rectangular stencil. Bake 350°F (175°C) 5-10 minutes, depending on thickness. Remove the baked cookies from the baking sheet and immediately curve over a ring mold and allow to cool.

Chocolate Genoise:

  • 9.9 oz/281 g whole eggs
  • 6.6 oz/187 g granulated sugar
  • 5.5 oz/157 g cake flour, sifted
  • 1 oz/30 g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2.1 oz/61 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 0.14 oz/4 g vanilla extract

Heat eggs and sugar over a water bath, whisking, until mixture reaches 140°F. Whip in stand mixer on high speed until very light and fluffy. Fold in the sifted flour and cocoa powder. Carefully fold a little part of the mixture into the melted butter and vanilla, add to the remaining batter and fold completely, without over-mixing. Scrape into lined half sheet pan and bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Chocolate Biscotti:

  • 10 oz/283 g granulated sugar
  • 2 oz/57 g black cocoa powder
  • 4 oz/113 g unsalted butter
  • 4 oz/113 g whole eggs
  • 11 oz/312 g pastry flour
  • 0.5 oz/14 g baking powder

1. Cream the sugar, cocoa and butter together. Add the eggs, and mix to incorporate. Add the remaining ingredients mix to incorporate

2. Scale into 12 oz/340 g portions. Roll into logs the width of a sheet pan. Freeze for later use or bake at 325°F for approximately 30 minutes, until set (the dough will flatten as it bakes). Cool.

3.  Slice on slight diagonal then bake again to crisp up.

Lemon Curd:

  • 4 lemons
  • 4 large eggs
  • 10.5 oz/300 g granulated sugar
  • 8 oz/227 g unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Zest 2 lemons and juice 4 lemons and place in a non-reactive saucepan. Add the eggs and sugar and cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken (constantly scraping the sides of the pan). Slowly whisk in the butter until fully incorporated and quite thick. Strain and allow to cool.


  • White cocoa butter, tempered
  • Red cocoa butter, tempered
  • Illanka chocolate, tempered
  • Fresh persimmons
  • Micro greens

1. Paint dots of white cocoa butter into half sphere molds. Using an airbrush, spray with red cocoa butter from about 16” (40 cm) away from the mold. Let it to harden and spray again with white cocoa butter. 

2. Fill each mold with tempered Illanka chocolate. Tilt the mold and scrape the excess chocolate from the surface and edges of the mold with the scraper. Firmly shake the molds on the surface to release any air bubbles. Pour the excess chocolate off the mold. Remove the remnants of chocolate from the surface and edges of the mold. Drain the mold by tapping it for about 5 minutes. Leave to harden for a few minutes. The molds are then ready to be filled.

3. Pipe a layer of the mousse into the mold. Top with the cremeux, top with another layer of mousse. Top with the hazelnut crisp, top with mousse, and top with the chocolate genoise, cut to fit. Freeze until firm. 

4. Unmold desserts.

5. Process the chocolate biscotti to make it looks like dirt.

6. Cut some fresh persimmons into small dice and some in form of spheres. Marinate in Grand Marnier and set aside. 

7. Place the crumbled biscotti on the plate, making a half moon. In the center of the moon, place the tuile, filled with some lemon curd and the diced persimmon. Place the mousse on top of the tuile, or aside of the tuile. Finish decorating with the persimmon spheres and some micro greens.

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